Theses days are a necessary evil. Homeschooling means shepherding the kids to classes and activities in town. It also means sitting in traffic in the Bay Area.
Usually it’s not so bad, since we drive try to avoid rush hour, but on days like this….On days like this I just want to be on my mountain.
The heat in the valley is a muggy eighty degrees. The high temperature up at the homestead is sixty-four and has that bite of fall I love so much. It’s also humid, but it’s the kind of humidity that makes me want to pull on thick socks and wrap a hand-knit shawl around my shoulders, tea in hand and kitten in my lap.
Sitting stopped on I-85 really makes me appreciate the quiet of the vineyard, the crowing of Helios and Turkey (our roosters) in the early morning, even our only partially paved road.
So, I wanted to pull up a an old (and dear) subject. One I don’t share very much anymore.
Now, my days of telling people what to eat are over, so I am only sharing what I do for myself and my family. I was a restaurant manager (with the degree to prove it) and then a CrossFit Level I coach, so my involvement with food has spanned almost twenty years.
I love food. Love it!
But, I also use it as an emotional anesthetic.
In my life I have used food to celebrate, to numb myself, to hate myself, to fuel myself, to feel in control and to feel out of control.
Food and I? It’s complicated.
I’ve been on every diet or nutritional plan. I did Slim Fast. My mom talked me into doing the Cabbage Soup diet with her. I was a vegetarian for years. I did the Zone. I did Paleo. I did Flex dieting. I went Keto.
They all worked…somewhat. What none of them addressed was my mind, my heart, my soul, and my relationship with food.
Then, through a keto podcaster, I heard about intuitive eating.
What? Eat what you want? No limits? Trust your body?
That all seemed sacrilegious to me. I had already learned I could not trust my body. Here was a “diet” that advocated doing exactly that. After “falling off” the keto wagon yet again, I looked at the looming holidays and said OK.
So life changing.
For the first time in twenty-five years I ate what I wanted, as much as I wanted.
The first couple of weeks, I was eating bread and cookies and all the things I had denied myself. Every time I told myself I was fine. I was OK. I was allowed. Weeks moved into months and something strange started happening. The bread lost it’s appeal. The cookies went from four or five to one or none. Quite simple the forbidden fruit, once no longer forbidden, wasn’t quite so tempting any more. By the time my Christmas cruise to the Caribbean came around, I was back to eating mostly paleo, high-fat with the occasional sweet treat thrown in. It turns out that’s the way I like to eat, and how I feel best. The few pounds I gained during the initial weeks of intuitive eating came off.
So, after decades of hyper fixation on food, now I just enjoy it. I start every morning with a fat fuel latte (keto). I eat a breakfast of eggs and veggies (paleo). And if I want dried mangos or a croissant, I eat it.
I no longer need to “forgive” myself, because there is nothing to forgive.
Oh! The things life throws at you. I am, as anyone can see, not posting. However, this time it is a deliberate decision, not neglect. Life has thrown some curveballs at me and none of it is shareable. I am willing it all to be over soon, so we can all settle back into our version of normalcy. That way I can get back to posting and sharing in this space. One really good thing I can share is I am back to knitting and working on a Rikke Hat for the cold snap we have coming up.
Also, R.I.P. Stephen Hawking. Your brilliant mind shall be missed, rest now.
I grew up in cities and suburbs. My mother’s idea of camping involves a top-of-the-line fifth wheel with all the conveniences of home a hotel room without room service. I was raised to play inside, keep my dress clean, and blow out the curl of my hair.
My mother has no idea where she went wrong with me.
I live in a tiny cabin in the mountains. My kids only wear shoes to go outside if they have to go into the chicken coop. Yes, we keep chickens. The driveway down from the main roads is steep enough to give FedEx fits. We can see the Milky Way from the deck of our house because we have no light pollution.
I love the warmth of the sun on my skin.
I love the feel of dirt beneath my feet.
The idea of sitting outside beneath a tree, just for the chance to feel the solidness of the trunk behind my back and the wind in my curls is relaxing.
Actually being able to do it is lovely.
The days we do go down to the city are stressful, and I look forward to the weekend when we can all just settle at home.
Doug and I have been on a search for a home of our own. A place where we can steward the land and the wildlife. Having lived in the country for the last two years, I can safely say I have absolutely no desire to live in the city or a suburb ever again.
Of course, I have no crystal ball to tell me what the future will bring, but here’s hoping.
Over the weekend, I got some me time and I made a trip to Maido in San Jose. Doug gifted me with my first real fountain pen for my birthday this month, and I wanted to actually try some before I bought one.
Being the obsessive researcher that I am I had narrowed it down to the Lamy Al-Star. I could have ordered one online, but I wanted to actually feel the pen in my hand, so off I went to the only place in town where I could try one.
I had never been to Maido, but I’ve been wanting to go for a while.
I geeked out over everything in that store. It’s not very big, but it is packed wall-to-wall with anything the stationary obsessed could want. There were stickers, journals, planners, notebooks, brush pens, gel pens, everything! I was in heaven.
I could have spent hours in that store.
I got to see the Traveler’s Notebooks from the original Traveler’s Company. There were so classy and tempting. Unfortunately, I have a new bujo, so I am not willing to make that kind of an investment until I’m near the end of my current notebook.
One of the store employees helped me try the different nib sizes on the Lamy pens. I had to dip them since they do not keep any cartridges in the tester pens. I had never dipped a pen and my experience writing with any fountain pens is limited, so I found dipping awkward. Even so, the Lamy felt really good in my hand, and my tiny writing definitely called for the extra fine nib. I ended up picking a purple pen.
I went ahead and bought a converter and a bottle of black ink instead of more cartridges. I get the feeling this pen and I are going to get to know each other very, very well.
In the past my drawing efforts have been sporadic at best. I’ll do a big piece and then I won’t touch my pens for months. So, to go with my word for the year, I am doing a daily drawing challenge in my bullet journal this year. this is my first effort. Unfortunately, I did not start it until I came back from my trip to Florida, thus the crossed out days.
This month I am going to try a more free-form format. I may not always do zentangles, as I want to start doodling and drawing in other styles as well.
…there was a very lucky nine year old girl (the one behind her sister) who travelled to distant lands and saw wondrous sights and wondered if she could one day grow up and go back to those distant lands to study the history of these ancient people.
Unfortunately, she was told to turn her attention away from such silly thoughts.
She was told that all that could be found was found.
She was told all that could be known was known.
She was told, it was foolish.
And so, she turned away from these foolish thoughts and silly dreams.
Decades later she watched documentary after documentary showing the new discoveries being made of those ancient people she had longed to study. This made the young woman she had grown up to be very sad, and so she vowed to listen to no one else about how and what to do with her dreams. Eventually, she met a man who felt the same way and encouraged her to follow her dreams, no matter how silly they may seem to others.
She never went back to that distant land, but she is living happily (ever after.)
My husband always tells my son, “Always trust a woman’s intuition. They’re always right.”
The first time I heard him say this, I was a bit shocked. I don’t trust my own intuition. I second guess every decision I make. I’ve gotten much better over the years, but I’m a nervous wreck about almost everything I do.
Or, at least I am when I overthink things.
Projecting every bad scenario into every moment is a specialty of mine.
It is one of the things I am trying to break through meditation and mindfulness. This mistrust of my own intuition is what gives rise to the doubts, fears and ultimately the self sabotaging actions.
What if no one likes my writing? What if I get laughter at? What if I fail? What if…? What if…? What if…?
I need to trust that intuition.
After all, it lead me to marry a man who is raising our son to trust female intuition.
I fell in love with the idea of living off the land and homesteading around the time I read Little House in the Big Woods when I was eight. Laura Ingles Wilder’s series fascinated me and made me into a voracious reader. They were also the books which powered my dreams of living in another, simpler time, and being able to learn to do things on my own.
We are so incredibly lucky to be able to have a taste of this right now where we live. We have a garden of veggies, a small starter flock of chickens, and I’m starting to learn to preserving and gluten-free backing from my neighbor and amazing landlord. (Really, R, thank you, thank you, thank you!)
We already know that California is not the place for us. It is gorgeous. The weather here can’t be beat. However, we miss being able to see our family more than once a year, and the water shortage here has us very leery to invest money into a real estate market that is priced way past ridiculous.
So, for now we will just enjoy NorCal, learn what we can, and know that that perfect farm is out there for us somewhere on the East Coast.